With a spate of Bank Holidays coming up, who wouldn’t want to indulge in an extra day off more often?
Well, the Green Party could very well make that happen.
The three-day weekend was floated at the Green Party annual conference on Saturday (no, it’s not an April Fool’s joke), along with a universal basic income as part of a “future of radical innovation and creative disruption” to tempt future voters.
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“We really wanted to flag this up because we think we need bold new ideas,” said the co-leader of the party Jonathan Bartley, speaking on the BBC‘s Andrew Marr Show.
“We’re facing the 21st Century, a very uncertain world, with big pressures from corporate globalisation. People ar being short changed, we’re seeing a right wing coup over Brexit, which is taking us into an even more deregulated situation, we face being a bargain basement corporate.”
Fellow co-leader of the party Caroline Lucas chipped in:
“I think there’s a lot of evidence that suggests that when people are exhausted, their productivity goes down, and what we’re suggesting here is that we are now the sixth largest economy in the world, people are working ever more hours, getting ever more stressed, getting ever more ill health, mental health problems, as well.
“What we want to do is take a step back and think, what is the purpose of the economy, what kind of country do we want to be, and do we really want a future where all of us are trying to work even harder, so we’re bringing our work with us when we go home in the evenings, at the weekends.”
The three-day weekend and four-day work week is not necessarily the distant dream one might imagine. The Netherlands effectively has one, with the country working on average 29 hours per week, according to figures from the OECD, the shortest work week of any country in the world.
Tech giant Amazon started experimenting with a four-day week last year and its not the only business to test the water to make the working week shorter. Japan’s Uniqlo started testing it out in 2015 and in the UK, train drivers on Southern Rail work a four-day week as standard.
In some of these cases, workers are in for longer on each day than the familiar eight hours.
And while some may question the economics behind such an idea, the Green Party might find themselves a surprise supporter – the world’s second richest man.
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has said he believes that a three-day working week (yep, that would be a four-day weekend), will make a more productive and healthier workforce that can be employed for longer.